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"A penny for your thoughts"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bill Clinton Sex Scandal





Clinton at the independent council
video

Monica Lewinsky tells Linda Tripp about her affair with President Clinton.
video


News of the scandal first broke on January 17, 1998, on the Drudge Report website, which reported that Newsweek editors were sitting on a story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff exposing the affair. The story broke in the mainstream press on January 21 when it hit the Washington Post. The story swirled for several days and despite swift denials from Clinton, the clamour for answers from the White House grew louder. On January 26, a visibly flustered President Clinton, standing with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, spoke at a White House press conference, and issued a

forceful denial while wagging his finger:
Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.


Pundits debated whether or not Clinton would address the allegations in his State of the Union Address. Ultimately, he chose not to, which may have helped his image with the American people through his strategy to appear more "presidential" and above the fray. First Lady Hillary Clinton publicly stood by her husband throughout the scandal. On January 27, in an appearance on NBC's The Today Show she famously said, "The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."

For the next several months and through the summer, pundits and the media endlessly debated whether an affair had occurred and Clinton had lied or obstructed justice, but nothing could be definitively established beyond the taped recordings because Lewinsky was unwilling to discuss the affair or testify about it. On July 28, 1998, a substantial delay after the public break of the scandal, Lewinsky received transactional immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony concerning her relationship with Clinton. She also turned over a semen-stained blue dress (which Tripp had encouraged her to save without dry cleaning) to the Starr investigators, thereby providing a smoking gun based on DNA evidence that could prove the relationship despite Clinton's official denials.

Clinton admitted in taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. That evening he gave a nationally televised statement admitting his relationship with Lewinsky which was "not appropriate"


In his deposition for the Jones lawsuit, Clinton denied having "sexual relations" with Lewinsky. Based on the evidence provided by Tripp, a blue dress with Clinton's semen, Starr concluded that this sworn testimony was false and perjurious.

During the deposition, Clinton was asked "Have you ever had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, as that term is defined in Deposition Exhibit 1, as modified by the Court." The judge ordered that Clinton be given an opportunity to review the agreed definition. Afterwards, based on the definition created by the Independent Counsel's Office, Clinton answered "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky." Clinton later stated that he believed the agreed-upon definition of sexual relations excluded his receiving oral sex.

President Clinton was held in contempt of court by judge Susan D.Webber Wright. His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas and later by the United States Supreme Court. He was also fined $90,000 for giving false testimony which was paid by a fund raised for his legal expenses.

Most Republicans in Congress, who held the majority in both Houses at the time, and some Democrats, believed that Clinton's giving false testimony and alleged influencing Lewinsky's testimony were crimes of obstruction of justice and perjury and thus impeachable offenses. The House of Representatives voted to issue Articles of Impeachment against him which was followed by a 21-day trial in the Senate. President Clinton was acquitted of all charges and remained in office. He was not given any penalty beyond the censure by the House of Representatives.

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